Sunday, March 11, 2007


A Devilish Ride

In track racing carnivals, there is an event known as “The Elimination”, also known as the “Miss ‘n’ Out Race” or “Devil Takes the Hindmost”.
The race is pretty simple. The bunch rolls out and after one “neutral” lap, one rider is eliminated from the race each lap. The rider withdrawn is the one judged to have had the rear of their rear wheel cross the finish line last.

It’s a crowd favourite, with the action at the back, lots of positioning and mini-sprints going on as riders jostle to stay in the race. There is a race happening every lap and it is quite fun to watch, especially if you have a lively commentator.

It requires plenty of cunning, experience, skill, positioning and a good engine to be successful in this race. There are several ways to ride the race successfully. Two common approaches are to either ride at the front to stay away from the trouble happening behind (which requires a good aerobic engine) or to ride at the back and out manoeuvre and sprint past your hapless opponents (which requires good neuromuscular power and skills). This latter approach is known as “playing the Devil”.

What you don’t want to do is get caught underneath and behind riders, as you have no where to go. Here is an example:

Rider trapped underneath

Notice how the rider above in light blue (a national champion BTW, #78 – the 8 is obscured in this shot) has ended up in a poor position trapped underneath. They are trying to follow wheels to conserve energy but when the time for the sprint to the line, they have limited options and are hoping other riders get caught out. Eventually this will result in elimination. See the result:

and no-where to go.... you're out!
It is not legal in track racing to improve your position in a bike race on the cote d’azure (the blue band on the inside of the track), nor is it legitimate to encroach on a rider who already occupies the sprinter’s lane (between the black and red lines). Trying to get across the line first this way will see the officials pull you from the race quick smart.

For some reason, I’ve become quite good at these races. My general approach is to position well near the front of the pack but sometimes you need to call on other tactics. Things happen very fast and the race is usually pretty quick as well, so riding at the front is quite taxing (but then so is sprinting every lap at the back). Here’s an example of how good positioning can take out a strong rider:

You're gawnnn buddy!
Rider 46 is strong but was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The rider caught underneath was kept there by yours truly just by riding above him. He can’t (legally) escape the trap. This rider went on to win the MMAS 2 points championship recently, so he has a good engine and a sprint to boot. But position is everything is this race of track real estate.

Who was eliminated here?
Hint, it wasn’t me (#44).

What about the power requirements for these races?

Well I can only talk about the grades I ride but here are some stats from my last four elimination races at open track carnivals:

Miss n Out Handicap: 25 Nov 2006 (Placing: 3rd)
Duration: 8:27
TSS: 18.3 (intensity factor 1.139)
Distance: 6.378 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1131 341 watts
Speed: 6.2 52.6 45.3 kph

Miss'n'out: 3 Feb 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 4:47
TSS: 11.9 (intensity factor 1.22)
Distance: 3.718 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1179 374 watts
Speed: 9.1 58.3 46.6 kph

Elimination: 15 Feb 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 5:20
TSS: 11.6 (intensity factor 1.14)
Distance: 3.786 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1314 345 watts
Speed: 3.9 58 42.5 kph

Elimination: 10 Mar 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 7:01
TSS: 18.1 (intensity factor 1.245)
Distance: 5.043 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1160 361 watts
Speed: 4.2 52.8 43.1 kph

Note the Intensity Factors for these
short races of between 5 and 10 minutes duration:
1.14; 1.22; 1.14 & 1.25, which are
pretty typical for elimination races.

Here’s a sample wko from my most recent elimination race:

A typical miss'n'out power file

I put 10 sec smoothing on the data to show up the regular surge each lap.

And the end result of the last pic above?

Well the young pup took it out in the final sprint but I gave it my all:

Damn. 2nd Again!

Looks like I just haven’t quite managed to do better than 2nd this season in elinination races....


Anonymous said...

I have been caught out in an Elimination, by more experienced women (one in particular!! a training buddy of mine to boot), not by being trapped below but by being squeezed out above, into the fence. Cunning? Absolutely! Know your enemy :-)